Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
California Expands Window for Filing Child Sexual Abuse Cases

California Expands Window for Filing Child Sexual Abuse Cases

Victims can now bring suit for much older abuse cases that would in the past have been blocked by statutes of limitation

As reported by the Los Angeles Times and numerous other news outlets, California just passed a new law giving victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to report allegations and file lawsuits, and temporarily allowing previously time-barred sexual assault claims to be brought, joining multiple other states, including New York, in greatly expanding the statute of limitations for claims by sex abuse victims.

The law, signed on Sunday by Governor Gavin Newsom, gives survivors until age 40, or five years from discovery of the abuse, to file civil lawsuits. The previous limit had been 26, or within three years from discovery of the abuse.

It also suspends the overall statute of limitations for sexual assault cases for three years — beginning Jan. 1 — giving victims of all ages time to bring lawsuits based on abuse and sexual assault conduct from the past if they wish.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the bill’s author, stated “The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous. More and more, we’re hearing about people who were victims years ago but were not ready to come forward to tell their story until now.”

Gonzales also noted that damages can be tripled in cases in which a child becomes a victim of sexual assault as the result of an effort to cover-up past assaults.

“We shouldn’t be telling victims their time is up when in reality we need them to come forward to protect the community from future abuse,” Gonzalez added.

Read the full article on the Los Angeles Times site.

Contact a Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer at Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin leads the cases for our firm on behalf of children and other victims of sexual abuse and assault. You can contact Annika by telephone at 800 541-7358 or use the confidential form below. There is no charge or obligation for your outreach, and all information will be held in the strictest confidence. You can learn more about these kinds of cases on our Abuse Survivors portal.